In an attempt to heal the world and make it a better place, global star Priyanka Chopra Jonas, singer Usher and actress Julianne Hough have drawn the wrath of people around the world over the premise of a new reality show the trio will co-host.
To sum up, ‘The Activist’ is a reality show that will feature the rich and famous who will pit global activists against each other to raise funds for a cause and, er, help the planet in the process. The main goal is for competitors to get the chance to present their cause at the G20 Summit in Rome. What could possibly go wrong?
Lots apparently if the social media backlash is anything to go by. The show, which is spearheaded by CBS, Global Citizen and Live Nation, will feature Usher as the host, with Chopra Jonas and Hough on co-hosting duties, who will collectively encourage six activist contestants to compete against each other “to bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education and the environment,” according to the press release.
Some of the questions burning up Twitter are, “Who asked for this?” and, “Couldn’t the money being spent on paying the stars be used to actually help genuine causes?”
One of the celebrities championing against the show is TV actress and future Marvel star Jameela Jamil. “Couldn’t they just give the money it’s going to take to pay this UNBELIEVABLY expensive talent and make this show, directly to activist causes? Rather than turning activism into a game and then giving a fraction of the much needed money away in a “prize…?” People are dying,” she tweeted.
Writer Joey Ayoub wasn’t far behind. “The reason dystopian stories can be uncanny is that we know that they can be real. They just often precede reality. Such obscene shows make total sense in a disconnected, elite world where activists are nothing more than entrepreneurs-to-be. It’s dehumanising,” came the tweet.
Activist Gina Martin also didn’t hold back, seemingly questioning the trio of celebrities who have signed on for the show. “1. Why the hell are they judging this 2. Why the hell is there a TV show that turns activism into a competition when the whole *essence* of activism is solidarity and community. This is the absolute worst,” she posted on Twitter.
“Yeah it would be terrible to make activists satisfy an arbitrary set of metrics to please a disconnected set of wealthy people who control the funding,” Climate change author, Kate Aronoff, wrote on Twitter.
“Fighting for issues is tough enough without having to dance and sing for a bunch of millionaires while they decide who’s worthy of their crumbs,” tweeted activist and former Georgia congressional candidate Nabilah Islam. “Who ever thought this was a good idea should take a [expletive] seat.”
According to the network’s plot description, ‘The Activist’ will see participants “go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics, and hosts’ input.”
Meanwhile, several others also couldn’t help point out the irony of choosing Hough as a host for a show titled ‘The Activist’ considering the ‘Dancing With The Stars’ alum once wore a blackface as a Halloween costume, while Indian star Chopra Jonas once infamously told an activist accusing her of “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan” not to “yell” at her.
While the usually social media active Chopra Jonas has not shared the news or made a statement on the show, following the backlash, Global Citizen did defend their stance through a statement issued to Deadline.
“‘The Activist’ spotlights individuals who’ve made it their life’s work to change the world for the better, as well as the incredible and often challenging work they do on the ground in their communities,” a spokesperson for the group said. “This is not a reality show to trivialise activism. On the contrary, our aim is to support activists everywhere, show the ingenuity and dedication they put into their work, and amplify their causes to an even wider audience.”
Whether you agree or disagree, the show is expected to premiere on October 22 on CBS in the US.